2020 Small Business Coverage

As you make resolutions to improve your operations going forward, don’t forget to take the time and reflect on the last year. What you did right, what you did wrong. Usually, you’ll find you’re doing pretty well. Sure, you find mistakes, but treat those as opportunities to learn from and as a roadmap on how to improve for the future. Resolve to take that first step. Often, the first step towards making resolutions to improve safety at your workplace is the hardest one to take.

When it comes to workplace safety, discovering what is right for your organization is not always easy, but it is well worth the effort. “There is a no more important cause, and no higher calling, than looking beyond yourself to the larger world in which your business and employees operate to make it a safer, more secure environment.

General Liability Insurance helps cover the costs of liability claims made against your business for third party personal injury, third party property damage and advertising injury. ... General Liability typically covers: Costs related to property damage claims made against your business.

Restaurant owners face new liabilities as a result of COVID-19

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we think about our world. From the way we interact with one another to the way businesses operate, nothing will be the same if and when a vaccine is found.

Because COVID-19 appeared so suddenly, many industries were completely blindsided by the disruptions that occurred as a result: businesses forced to close, employees transitioning to working from home where possible, mass layoffs and much more. One industry that has been affected, in particular, is the restaurant industry. Now, as certain states look to jumpstart their economies, restaurants in those states must weigh the pros and cons of opening their doors once more.

While the way restaurants conduct business is sure to change — California recently issued a set of guidelines for dine-in restaurants — they’re likely to encounter an enhanced version of the risks they were already facing before COVID-19 struck.

Below are a few examples of what those in the restaurant industry may face going forward:

Workers’ compensation:
The key question for workers’ compensation claims is whether the injury occurred at the workplace. If it did and that can be proven, the employee may be entitled to financial compensation from their employer. But if an employee claims that they contracted COVID-19 while working at that restaurant that employs them, the answer to whether they’re entitled to financial compensation is up for debate.

Employment practices: Unemployment claims in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 have soared past 36 million, and restaurant and bar workers account for a large portion of those claims. Many of the jobs were lost as part of a reduction in force (RIF), which is defined as a separation from employment due to lack of funds, redesign or elimination of positions or reorganization, with no likelihood or expectation that the employee will be recalled. However, a restaurant owner who defines their actions as RIF or mass layoff does not automatically receive protection from employment practices exposure.

Liquor liability: In an effort to retain as many employees as possible and keep sales afloat, restaurants have implemented the go-to sale of alcohol. Under normal liquor liability circumstances, the biggest exposure that restaurants and bars face is over-serving. Currently, customers aren’t required to sign a waiver that they’re not drinking and driving, and while the beverage is technically not an open container, it’s not sealed either. Furthermore, restaurants aren’t required to ask if the drink will be shared or if it’s all being consumed by one person. So if a person comes down with alcohol poisoning from a mass amount of liquor that the restaurant sent them off with, the owner could technically be on the hook.

“The bottom line is that while the industry is currently dealing with a high volume of business interruption claims, restaurant owners and their insurance agents need to also think about the claims we haven’t seen yet,” Crystal Jacobs, vice president and program director at Restaurant Guard Insurance, said in a statement. “Over the next 12-24 months, we expect the industry will feel the true legal implications of COVID-19 — with workers’ compensation, employment practices and even liquor liability claims leading at the forefront of the next wave of exposures.”California has a no-fault workers compensation system, ideally benefiting both employees and employers. Workers cannot sue their employers in court, and in return, employees don’t have to prove that their employer was at fault for the injury–just that the injury was work-related. The California workers'compensation system, paid for by employers, provides several benefits to injured workers.

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